Page 3 of 11 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 105

Thread: What a German soldier of WWII thought of US soldiers.

  1. #21
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Quote Originally Posted by LSP972 View Post
    They were defeated because the strategic bombing campaign denied them the resources to continue fighting at "professional" levels. They were using a lot of horse-drawn conveyances by D-Day, and it went downhill from there.
    The impact of strategic bombing on manufacturing is debatable. However, it is true that the Germans were running out of resources towards the end of the war, especially fuel. Oftentimes they had the tanks, but no fuel. They were also running out of men towards the end of the war, but the Russians had something to do with that.

    As far as the OP goes, I think it's tough to generalize. At the tactical level, there would be a wide range of abilities, morale, leadership, and proficiency. One person's impressions could be influenced by the particular units that he fought against.

  2. #22
    Site Supporter
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    SC
    VT1032,

    I must confess that I am not as well read as others here on this forum of our nations history, and in my ignorance may have made a foolish observation. I am obviously a bit out of my depth but will do my best to explain what I was thinking. My initial observation and irritation was from simply reading the interview and taking it at face value. All that I could initially draw from the text was that based on the interviewee's experience and personal observation his opinion was that our Army and it's men were considered amateurs strictly based on the employment of a said tactic. I found that observation extremely nearsighted.

    The interviewee did not draw upon any historical data of when and how our Army had been formed, it's rapid expansion and the use of previously learned tactics and their significance or insignificance on the battlefield during the war. Nor was the level at which our soldiers had been trained or personal observations of individual skill brought up as others have so stated here to draw a more clear picture. I also doubt that the interviewee had these facts when his opinion was so formed. In my opinion the interviewee had insufficient data to draw a conclusion that the American military of the time was unskilled based solely on what was presented in the text. I find what he stated about tactics used to be contrary to his belief. But I am only human and am obviously lacking some information.
    Last edited by Mike C; 05-08-2015 at 10:25 AM.

  3. #23
    Member TGS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Alexandria, VA
    Quote Originally Posted by trailrunner View Post
    The impact of strategic bombing on manufacturing is debatable.
    I'd like to read any references you have. My understanding was that it isn't really debatable. Besides the obvious effects, there was also an ancillary depreciating effect on equipment. Tanks, for example....you simply can't have a reliable tank if you can't heat treat the metal parts.
    "Are you ready? Okay. Let's roll."- Last words of Todd Beamer

  4. #24
    Site Supporter
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    SC
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeep View Post
    Mike: My father, who was a landing craft commander in the Pacific, and who is now in his mid-90's--would tell you to this day that from the US side it was almost entirely an amateur effort, that those amateurs had to learn as they went along, that a lot of Americans died because of that, but by the end of the war the survivors had learned what they needed to know. (He would also tell you that the Marines in 1945--the guys who took Iwo and participated at Okinawa, were the finest troops he ever saw and he suspects were some of the finest in world history--their leaders were the guys who had learned the tough lessons in 1942-43).

    And the fact that they started out as amateurs was no surprise. The Army in 1939 had only something like 150,000 men, and expanded in a few years to something like 8 million.

    Those amateurs did well, but until they taught themselves they really were amateurs, just like most of our soldiers had originally been in WW I.

    Let us hope that the current defense cuts don't leave us in that situation once again. It was an expensive lesson to learn.
    Jeep thank you and others for some of the interesting and helpful posts. I've obviously misspoken and appreciate the correction. I would have skipped my last reply had I read through yours and some of the others posts but I already had my reply up so they weren't showing.

  5. #25
    Known Industry Shill Tamara's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    In free-range, non-GMO, organic, fair trade Broad Ripple, IN
    Quote Originally Posted by LSP972 View Post
    They were using a lot of horse-drawn conveyances by D-Day, and it went downhill from there.
    The Wehrmacht never was fully motorized; they used a lot of horseflesh all through the war. The US military was the only major combatant that didn't make extensive use of hoofed traction in WW2.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeep
    ...without overwhelming air and artillery power I'm not sure we would have beaten them.
    And if my grandmother had wheels, she'd have been a wagon. I get a kick out of reading old German memoirs where they complain that if only we'd have fought them with one hand tied behind our backs, they'd have showed us the real way to win a 19th Century war! Okay, Heinz, whatever gets you through the night.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
    VT1032,

    I must confess that I am not as well read as others here on this forum of our nations history, and in my ignorance may have made a foolish observation. I am obviously a bit out of my depth but will do my best to explain what I was thinking. My initial observation and irritation was from simply reading the interview and taking it at face value. All that I could initially draw from the text was that based on the interviewee's experience and personal observation his opinion was that our Army and it's men were considered amateurs strictly based on the employment of a said tactic. I found that observation extremely nearsighted.

    The interviewee did not draw upon any historical data of when and how our Army had been formed, it's rapid expansion and the use of previously learned tactics and their significance or insignificance on the battlefield during the war. Nor was the level at which our soldiers had been trained or personal observations of individual skill brought up as others have so stated here to draw a more clear picture. I also doubt that the interviewee had these facts when his opinion was so formed. In my opinion the interviewee had insufficient data to draw a conclusion that the American military of the time was unskilled based solely on what was presented in the text. I find what he stated about tactics used to be contrary to his belief. But I am only human and am obviously lacking some information.
    I think what he was trying to get at was that he had observed US troops make amatuer mistakes on the battlefield more then other forces, but that we compensated for our inexperience with agression and overwhelming firepower. If so, he would not be the first to say this about US forces particularly in WW2, it's a pretty frequent theme in US military history. I would say based on what I read that these were his observations, nothing more. That said, in general, history would support his statements, particularly early on in the war. The US Army basically wrote the book on how to win a war during WW2. Pre war, they had no concept of combined arms, no concept of close air support, little doctrine on combined infantry and armor, little on coordination between infantry and artillery; their doctrine on urban warfare was to go around the city... All of this stuff was learned through trial and error during the war. It is very likely that depending on when he observed US troops, he did see amatuers trying to work their way through these problems through trial and error.

  7. #27
    Site Supporter
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    SC
    VT1032 or anyone, any good book recommendations on where to start? I would certainly be interested in the conceptualization on combined arms, close air support, artillery and how it developed throughout the war and was molded into what we know now.

  8. #28
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    TX
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
    VT1032 or anyone, any good book recommendations on where to start? I would certainly be interested in the conceptualization on combined arms, close air support, artillery and how it developed throughout the war and was molded into what we know now.
    Mike- I highly recommend the ones I mentioned above by Rick Atkinson (An Army at Dawn, The Day of Battle, and The Guns at Last Light). They're comprehensive, and he delves into most of what's been talked about here.
    Definitely supports what others have said about our military in the beginning. After WWI we drew down everything, to where we weren't even considered a serious military power. Most of the great WWII generals were junior cavalry officers in WWI. They had to learn and adapt to new technology and tactics. Amphibious landings and combined arms were invented or learned on the fly.
    The air campaign is a whole story unto itself, with different factions arguing for literally bombing Germany into the Stone Age so they could serve as an agrarian state for the rest of Europe, bombing cities so the populace would pressure the government for peace, or concentrating on industrial production.
    The problem with bombing the cities was that the people had almost no influence on the government. When it's run by a madman who will throw you and your family into a concentration camp, where's the leverage?
    In the end, IIRC, it was a combination of bombing oil and gas production, and snarling transportation to the front that did the most good. By early 1945 German rail and roads were so dominated by Allied air power that daytime movement was suicidal.
    Side note : when the war was almost over and the Allies started thinking about reparations, Atkinson cites an estimate that the total value of Germany at the time was only $200 million. They really, really bombed them hard.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
    VT1032 or anyone, any good book recommendations on where to start? I would certainly be interested in the conceptualization on combined arms, close air support, artillery and how it developed throughout the war and was molded into what we know now.
    A very good book on how the US Army professionalized during WWII would be "Closing with the Enemy: How GIs Fought the War in Europe, 1944-5" by Michael Doubler. It basically outlines exactly that.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Tamara View Post
    And if my grandmother had wheels, she'd have been a wagon. I get a kick out of reading old German memoirs where they complain that if only we'd have fought them with one hand tied behind our backs, they'd have showed us the real way to win a 19th Century war! Okay, Heinz, whatever gets you through the night.
    True enough. Never start an industrial war when the other side has a far larger industrial base than you do. A mistake the Japanese also made, but of course, who needs thousands of 105's and 155's when you have true warrior spirit?

User Tag List

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •